Ahead of the game; videogames you were too young to appreciate

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Sweep

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#1 Sweep  Moderator

After scanning through @buzz_clik's Mega Drive collection, I decided to sort through my own set of flashbacks; The Sega Mega Drive was my first console and, thinking about it now, it seems completely bananas to me how complicated some of those games were, and how I was able to muddle through them when I was seven years old.

Take Syndicate, for example. Thinking back on it now, I remember Syndicate as being fiendishly difficult... Mostly because I didn't actually understand what I was supposed to be doing. I remember having a character with a gun that could walk around a futuristic city (sometimes as a group of people), and there were robots that I could apparently seem to recruit (unless they tried to kill me?!), and cars that I could drive? Beyond that I have no idea. I don't think I ever got further than the third level. And yet that is a game I remember spending whole days playing. Eurgh.

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I also seem to remember playing a game called Jungle Strike, where you control a helicopter (And sometimes a hovercraft?), flying around the jungle to shoot down cars and rescue people.... it all gets a little blurry. I distinctly remember one level where you have to stop terrorists from blowing up a load of Washington monuments, but you have to defend them in a specific order. There's another level where you have to rescue some Navy Seals (I specifically remember Navy Seals for some reason) and drop them off at an island helipad.

It's another game in which I definitely did not get past the opening levels, but remember spending a disproportionate amount of time playing. I must have been 9 or 10 years old I don't remember making any progress in that game. Not surprising, really; At that age I didn't have any appreciation for "mission briefings" or "objectives". Words? In my videogame? No thank you.

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I'm assuming that this is a generation thing, and there are probably people in our community who were unleashed onto a whole mess of games that, despite not being able to appreciate at the time, dominated a whole chunk of their childhood?

There's also probably going to be a bunch of old-timers who never experienced this. You know who you are.

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NTM

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#2  Edited By NTM

I don't think there's ever been a game where I was too young and played then, but played way later to finally enjoy because I was more mature if you will. Movies are kind of different, though. Also, you say jungle strike like you don't know what it is now, haha (unless it's one of those 'don't remember the name of that game' kind of thing). I have that game on Sega Genesis. I think it sucked and probably still would.

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Teddie

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Basically everything I played on the PS1 when I was a kid. I didn't ever think about "finishing" games, I just played stuff. Sometimes I'd play a few levels in Spyro, then it'd get too hard or I wouldn't know the square button did something different, and restart the game so I could still play it.

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spacetrucking

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The Monkey Island games. I liked pirates as most eight year olds do, so I still enjoyed the game. But I didn't get most of the absurdist humor of that series until much later. And because Ron Gilbert is a sadist, the puzzles were fiendishly difficult and obtuse for me at the time.

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sravankb

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This is where we might need to differentiate between "like" and "appreciate". Because when I was young, I neither liked nor appreciated flight sims. I just liked fighter jets and didn't really care for the actual real life intricacies and complications they pose as a machine to operate.

Currently I still don't like flight Sims, but I really appreciate them. They cover an insane amount of detail and usually we'll defined physics engines.

But they're still too much for me.

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splodge

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Kings field, I was 11. Impossible.

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Sinusoidal

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Not a case of youth, but mindset. Stealth games eluded me for years because why would I want to sneak around in a video game? Video games are for annihilating every enemy in sight with extreme prejudice and overwhelming force.

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DookieRope

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One of the Simcity games. 2000 maybe. Load custom fancy city, spawn disasters until it was a flaming pile of rubble. I had no idea how the game actually worked but watching that digital world burn was fun as hell.

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aceshigh311

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mario

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hermes

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SNES RPG.

I was too young, and nowhere near fluent enough in English to be attracted by the narrative, so most of them I played for the combat, which is the reason why, at the time, I always stopped after a few hours.

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dudeglove

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#11  Edited By dudeglove

My problem with Jungle/Desert Strike is that they controlled like ass. That winch was finicky garbage.

I think my brother tried to get me into space sims like Wing Commander, Descent or X Wing: Tie Fighter that were sort of a thing in the mid to late 90s. If like me you were a pre-teen they were IM-FUCKING-POSSIBLE to control and absolutely AWFUL to set up with flight sticks. A lot of the plug-n-play shit that happens on PCs nowadays would have been practically unthinkable back then. USB was not a thing. All those joysticks that are in a dump somewhere basically had their own drivers. You pretty much had to manually configure the x/y extremes of your joystick every time you booted up, which meant sitting through tedious menus. Also, actually getting ANY game to run on ANY machine was a feat in itself.

Being older now I can sorta see the appeal, but I could not have been more turned off by it back then, but I would like to check out Elite: Dangerous at some point. Oh and floppy disks? Haaaaaaaah. Jeez I'm glad that era of physical media is done with.

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selbie

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Syndicate was definitely one I was too young to understand but the game's violent cyberpunk setting was too intriguing to ignore.

Another one for me was Myst. I found it totally impossible, but the enticement of shiny 3D animations and FMV kept me playing.

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PeteyCoco

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@dookierope: I played SimCity 2000 sooo much as a kid and that's pretty much all I did. The closest I got to actually playing was when I figured out you could get more money by upping the taxes to max.

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Raios

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I loved my SNES, but my attention span at the time was way too low to appreciate the great RPGs it offered. I'd rent/borrow one and give up after about an hour of "boring" talking and not knowing what to do. I played through Chrono Trigger a number of years later and thought it was fantastic - hoping to carve out time for some of the other classics one of these days.

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FacelessVixen

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Gran Turismo 2. As someone who was used to kart and arcade racing games at the time and assumed the same of GT2, because cars on the cover, the idea of a racing simulator was very alien to me at the time and totally went against my 'all gas no brakes' mentality. I eventually learned to appreciate the realism with Forzas 2 and 3, but I'll always be more of a Need for Speed guy.

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Christoffer

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As someone from a non-english speaking country I think I had most trouble with the language (and mostly playing PC games that could sometimes be pretty text/speech heavy). Ultima 7: The Black Gate was one of those games. I basically had no idea what was going on but I loved it still.

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ripelivejam

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some games on apple IIe. robot odyssey and echelon, i am looking firmly in your direction. granted i wasn't THAT young with both, but with robot odyssey i ran into a roadblock with a challenge that had you make a robot to autopilot grab a key from the middle of the room (think i got close though!), and i think echelon was just too obtuse and weird for me to find any real direction with it, plus it was framey as hell on the system and hard to shoot enemies etc. both were still pretty rad. i think i even had dreams about really weird shit showing up in echelon (which i believe was due to crossed wires with Tron).

dark heart of uukrul (for the longest time i couldn't remember that name!) i also got stuck on, but only because i lost the copy protection, i mean translation stone page thingy. i proceeded to grind the same dungeon floor over and over and over again until i basically lost interest.

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LawGamer

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I was a teenager, so "too young" doesn't necessarily apply, but Metal Gear Solid 2 comes to mind. At the time I was just pissed I had to play as Raiden rather than Snake and I thought the story was just a bunch of techno-babble hooey that didn't make any sense whatsoever. And unlike Dan, I don't think "President in cyber-tentacle suit on top of a Harrier crashing into Manhattan" is cool. Or even entertainingly stupid. It's just stupid.

Today I have come to appreciate the prescience of the story beats. Kojima was definitely ahead of his time on the whole internet flood of crap information angle.

I still think Raiden is a terrible character and that the boss and level design is among the weakest in the series, but I can at least appreciate the story a bit more.

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cloudymusic

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#19  Edited By cloudymusic

Looking back, Strike Fleet seemed like a ridiculously deep and cool simulation game that my young mind just wasn't equipped to handle. Also, the original Wasteland to some extent; I could tell it was neat, but I didn't really have a huge attention span for it, and man, it seemed tough, especially without any sort of strategy guide.

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OurSin_360

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#20  Edited By OurSin_360

Any nes-snes RPG

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aristophocles

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I don't think it was due to age, but I came into the MGS series after I picked up MGS 2 on a whim for my PS2. I had no clue what was going on. Who is Raven? Isn't this Snake guy the main character? So why am I a blonde dude? I still enjoyed it, but I was so lost for so many years because I never bothered to look anything up.

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Zevvion

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There were no doubt a few games I didn't fully understand how to play, but I never revisited them, so I have no idea.

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flagranterror

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#23  Edited By flagranterror

@spacetrucking: The difference between being young and now is that when you are young, the puzzles are just fiendishly difficult and obtuse. The puzzles are fiendishly difficult now because they are obtuse.

The humor is great, but adventure games didn't age well and that style of gameplay doesn't fly in 2017. A close friend of mine and I tried to play through a bunch of Day of the Tentacle: Remastered and got stuck over and over again. We are not dumb dudes; Monkey Island and the like are relics of a time where nobody really knew what game design was. Those puzzles are neither clever nor fun, if I look up the solution to something and go "man, I feel stupid now", that's one thing. If I look up a solution and say "wow, there is absolutely no way I would've figured that out without looking it up," then it was a shitty puzzle.

A game that says "here, figure this out" without giving you a shred of where to go or how to accomplish some obscure goal, and then further obfuscating the goal for the sake of doing so is not really a game. What I can appreciate now being older is my ability to say "I'm not dumb, your game sucks" as opposed to just feeling like a stupid kid.

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Claude

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#24  Edited By Claude

I was 27 when the SNES came out. I wasn't too young to appreciate some games. I just sucked at them. Games like Super Metroid, Castlevania and a few others were not for my abilities. Even on the NES, I found some games just too hard.

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Zelyre

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Any game pre-NES. Even though I was like 6-7 before the NES came out and played on a friend's Caleco or Intelivision or whatever it was and... if a video game can't hold the interest of a 7 year old? Especially a game called "He-Man"? You got problems.

My problem with Jungle/Desert Strike is that they controlled like ass. That winch was finicky garbage.

I think my brother tried to get me into space sims like Wing Commander, Descent or X Wing: Tie Fighter that were sort of a thing in the mid to late 90s. If like me you were a pre-teen they were IM-FUCKING-POSSIBLE to control and absolutely AWFUL to set up with flight sticks. A lot of the plug-n-play shit that happens on PCs nowadays would have been practically unthinkable back then. USB was not a thing. All those joysticks that are in a dump somewhere basically had their own drivers. You pretty much had to manually configure the x/y extremes of your joystick every time you booted up, which meant sitting through tedious menus. Also, actually getting ANY game to run on ANY machine was a feat in itself.

Being older now I can sorta see the appeal, but I could not have been more turned off by it back then, but I would like to check out Elite: Dangerous at some point. Oh and floppy disks? Haaaaaaaah. Jeez I'm glad that era of physical media is done with.

That's how I became really good at moving through command line interfaces! If it weren't me needing to make boot disks for every freaking game, I wouldn't be in IT.

"Oh, I put together this boot disk that lets me use a mouse, modem, AND sound card for Doom. Sweet. Time to play some TIE Fighter."

"No Joystick Found."

"Okay, cool. I'll just add that joystick into that autoexec.bat and here we go! TIE.EXE"

"Not enough EMS memory."

"Fuuuck. Ok. Memmaker time! Where'd my sound go? Oh look, an IRQ conflict! Yay!"

Speaking of flight sims and being too young, there was a Disney published title on the PC called Stunt Island. I was far too young to really make much sense of it, and I think the game was a bit ahead of its time given the hardware (386s), but it was kind of an open world game. You could place cameras and various "actors" (cars, people, animals), give them scripts to carry out tasks. Once you were happy with that, you assigned yourself an actor to pilot. All the physics were kind of flight based, so if you assigned yourself a car, it'd turn like a plane. You then inhabited the actor and flew around. Once you left that mode, it recorded the actor movement data and you could edit that footage, add music and sound effects in a ghetto-Premier like setting. All I ever did was make sheep that exploded when you shot them and then flew a jet around, shooting said sheep.

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notnert427

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@sweep Jungle Strike was rad.

@flagranterror It's amazing how crazy some of the puzzle elements in early games were. Game design in those days was "let's up the difficulty with progression-halting nonsense". Half the time it seemed like they just went with whatever random-ass way some dev got from a to b that no one in their right mind would typically duplicate, and the other half it was intentionally batshit-insane crap like "oh, you didn't notice that the third panel in the fourth room was a slightly different shade of chartreuse, which was your cue to go up to the third floor and jump off of the fourth ledge on your left? Duh." And then when you finally looked that crap up on some FAQ or in the back of one of the video game magazines of the day, your reaction was "wha....how....why?" Game testing/QA was virtually nonexistent back then, so boy, did they get away with some shit. Bioforge is a pretty great example of some of the baffling shit games used to pull. Good times.

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afabs515

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@dookierope: Yup, this was basically my childhood. I loved destroying cities in SimCity 2000. Good times... good times...

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GuitarGod

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Started playing the HITMAN games on the PS2 when I was pretty young, like middleschool.

my first game was contracts, and boy was that game really hard. I didn't play play a whole lot of stealth before that, didn't even get into stuff like metal gear until wayyy later. I hardly completed that game until I was older, and the missions I did complete I just went guns blazing lol.